Sunday afternoon the NBC Sports Network televised a documentary covering the surprising promotion of the AFC Bournemouth soccer team to the English Premier League. A team that can trace its lineage back to 1890. The club first joined the English Football League in 1921. For several decades the club played at the lowest divisions of soccer in England. Fast forward to 2007 and we get to the heart of the documentary, Roger Bennett of the television show Men in Blazers sits down with team Chairman Jeff Mostyn recalling the near extinction of the club in 2007. As Mr. Mostyn describes putting up 100,000 pounds, about 150,000 U.S. dollars to save off liquidation of the club. He begins to tear up, pauses, and then continues to describe how he went with his heart over his brain to continue to invest his money into the club. An interview Barbara Walters would be proud of, as she always made her guest cry. After pulling the team away from financial ruin, Mr. Mostyn’s next decision would be identifying the team manager. He basically told Mr.Bennett, even if we had wanted an experienced manager how could we afford one? The decision was to go with a 31-year-old first time manager, former member of the team Eddie Howe.
So, as I watched this documentary I began to think, man this kinda sounds familiar to me. I thought back to the story Nick Sakeiwicz Philadelphia Union’s C.E.O, telling of how he used his own American Express card to create the Keystone Entertainment inc. A decision he made in large part because he knew there was a fan base in desperate need of a team. Another great documentary to watch is Sons of Ben the Movie which tells story of how the Sons of Ben were founded and their efforts to make MLS award Philadelphia an expansion team. How about the fact that our club, like the AFC Bournemouth, now has a young fist time manager Jim Curtin. He is not a former player of the Union, but he is a local guy. Jim Curtin knows the history of this town and how passionate the fans are about sports. The years of Eagles, Flyers and 76ers fans supporting their teams waiting for a Championship victory. I am sure Coach Curtin and his players want nothing more than to bring a Championship victory to Philadelphia.
Back to the show, I loved the inspiring highlights and interviews with fans, of the AFC Bournemouth club as they climbed up through the system of leagues and their celebrations after winning F. A. cup games and promotion. The F. A. Cup is a special tournament where clubs, starting with the lowest leagues, progressing to the higher leagues all competing for the opportunity to win the cup. On September 30, 2015 at PPL Park the Philadelphia Union will compete for their first cup. The Union will host the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open tournament final against the Sporting Kansas City team. The U.S Open is America’s version of the English tournament.
The team motto for the AFC Bournemouth is “Together anything is Possible.” after watching this documentary, I believe in their motto. I hope the owners, the team, and the fans of the Union can come together as one on September 30, and share the joy of winning our first trophy. Let’s us show the rest of Philadelphia and the world that we too can support our team as passionately as the AFC Bournemouth fans support their club. The AFC Bournemouth and the Philadelphia Union have forged a official partnership. Back in July the Union hosted the “Cherries” (nickname) during their preseason tour of Philadelphia. Which was capped off with a friendly. I urge all union fans to watch this show. I hope it inspires you, to believe that the Union are capable of winning that first cup. The thought of not being at PPL Park for the Celebration after would be unbearable. You would never be able to forgive yourself. If the fans of AFC Bournemouth could support that club through all the ups and downs over the generations. If the fans of the other local teams can continue to support their respective teams without championships some over a few decades. We Union fans have an obligation to support the Union as they aspire to win their first trophy in their 6th year of existence.